Ground rules for interviews & focus groups


I am here to learn from your experiences and so your thoughts, feedback, and insights are valued and helpful.

  1. If a question doesn’t make sense, let me know. I am happy to rephrase it. 
  2. You do not need to answer every question.  
  3. Everything we say in this room will be treated as confidential. 

Focus groups

Guidelines for today’s discussion

We are here to learn from your experiences. All responses are valued and helpful.

  1. We expect that you will not all agree with each other and/or will share varying experiences. We value these differences and hope that you do too.

  2. Everything we say in this room will be treated as confidential feedback. Please do not share any of the individual experiences that come up today outside of this room.

  3. If a question doesn’t make sense, please let me know so I can rephrase it.

  4. I will ask for volunteers to respond to each question. It’s absolutely fine not to answer every question. If you haven’t responded, I will ask you if you wish to, but you can pass whenever you wish.

  5. You do not need to raise your hand to speak.

  6. Only one person should speak at a time. This is important so that we don’t miss anyone’s responses.

  7. There are post-it notes, scratch paper, and pens in front of you. Periodically, I’ll ask you to use the post-its or scratch paper to jot down your thoughts before we talk as a full group. Also, as we’re talking, feel free to take notes or write or draw in response rather than speak — the scratch paper is your chance to tell us exactly what you’re thinking and to do it anonymously. We’ll collect your post-it notes and scratch paper at the end of the session unless you’d prefer we not.

Note: If difficult topics will be addressed in the focus groups, additional guidelines might be needed. Example guidelines are available at:


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